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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 11: My Final Goal Was Survival

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the last of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

November 25, 2014
Dear Friends,

The decrease of hormones in the blood tends to follow a logarithmic progression, meaning that as time passes and the level approaches zero, the actual amount of reduction slows. My quantitative hCG levels over the past few weeks have moved from 78 to 26 to 13 to 7, so I went into Friday's blood draw with closely guarded optimism that it might be my last. The results came in yesterday: 4.8. It is, by the slimmest margin, below the threshold for a negative pregnancy test. It is enough. By every definition, my pregnancy is now over.

It seems like there should be a way to quantify this experience. After spending almost 10 weeks trying to make peace with the situation, I should be able to tally the losses and gains, to give some kind of final accounting. But no analysis I've come up with accurately describes what this has been like.

No matter how I try to tell this story, it never seems to be weighted correctly. It's like trying to tell someone what you look like; it should be an objective exercise, but how could it be? This is the story of a tiny thing that didn't work. How that came to consume so much of my time and warp my perception so thoroughly defies logic. It was a tiny thing. It caused a lot of pain. It hurt and hurt and then it stopped. I'm not sure if that's what ought to happen, or if subjective judgments even apply. I observed once during my first pregnancy that the absence of pain doesn't guarantee the presence of comfort. Sometimes we just are and there's nothing we can do about it.

Let me at least take stock of what I know. It has been my goal for more than four years to have another child. In the pursuit of that goal, I failed. I hoped the pregnancy would end naturally; it ended in failure. I wanted to avoid surgery; I failed. I wanted to walk away from the surgery into a normal life, to be released from any further testing, to lick my wounds before they scarred over. That was six weeks ago. My final goal was survival. Somehow, the significance of that success seems greater than the long string of disappointments.

I also know that I was extremely lucky. I had the full support of my community. I was given time and space to make difficult decisions, and those decisions were consistently respected. I was not lied to, manipulated or impeded. Something inside me broke, but the system I relied on did not. It was at times unpleasant, but never designed to rob me of my dignity. The course of my treatment was motivated solely by the desire to safeguard my health and support my physical and emotional recovery. I felt no shame, nor was that ever demanded of me. There are many, many women living not so far away who cannot say the same thing.

I remain today an extremely fortunate person. I have a family that is not only loving but deeply respectful. I have a beautiful child who fills my life with laughter and frustration. And I have you. In trying to tell this story, I have learned a great deal about the quality of compassion. None of you asked to be party to this, but each of you took time to offer your support. You let me be honest, open, a shaky leaf and a sleepy Maserati and, I'm sure, a complete pain in the ass. You let me be messy. You listened, and if you stopped listening you were tactful enough not to mention it. You cared deeply and let me know it. You helped me understand in a small, deep way how truly lucky I am and for that I shall forever be grateful.

Best,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6: The Garage Doors Of Fresno.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 7: Like A Pelvic Game Of Asteroids.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 8: Zero Is The Target.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 9: Show Stoppers.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 10: Steve The Cat.

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Thursday: Postscript.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on February 4, 2015


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